Santa Banana, following so much bad news with the unabated inflation rate of basic commodities that keeps President Marcos Jr. awake at night, as well as the majority of Filipinos who are also worried, coupled with political violence on the upsurge as well as the incursion of China in the West Philippine Sea, a bit of good news is most welcome!
There’s for instance the welcome news that an energy plant in Pagbilao in Quezon, located on the northern shore of Tayabas, east of Lucena City, will soon commence operations, which will bolster the Luzon grid, all under BBM.
The Pagbilao Liquified Natural Gas venture built by Australian power giant, Energy World Corp. is nearing completion and could well be among the first big-ticket projects that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr would inaugurate under his watch.
I have it on good information, my gulay, the President is very excited about this particular project because it could boost the country’s power supply which remains shaky to this day, what with the expected depletion of the Malampaya natural gas contribution to the country’s energy mix!
Former Quezon governor Eduardo Rodriguez, who remains one of those committed to the economic development of his province, said the Australian company is committed to completing the plant despite delays which are beyond the EWC’s control.
The last remaining piece before the commencement of its operations is the completion of its own sub-station—a crucial component for power transmission—which is in its final stages.
Rodriguez, who owns the real estate where the plant is being built, expressed confidence the Philippine economy will recover and eventually reach its growth targets as it gets back to its pre-pandemic levels and the project would be one of the biggest contributors.
Even in its pre-operating stages, my gulay, the company has become a major economic contributor to the province and to the country as a whole.
It has employed thousands and has religiously paid its taxes. Considering the multiplier effect, EWC has done its fair share in the country’s economic development.
Rodriguez echoes the statement of Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson who recently revealed that many Australian companies are keen to invest in the Philippines!
The Ambassador says one of the reasons is the passage of economic reforms that are geared towards attracting foreign investment, my gulay!
“There’s an enormous opportunity here in the Philippines and some of the reforms that have just been signed recently really made a step forward for the Philippines and will encourage phenomenal foreign investment,” Robinson said.
“We’ve got Australian companies coming here, really keen to invest and to partner with Philippine companies because they see the Philippine economy bouncing back from the pandemic and the rate of growth back to where it was in 2019 by the end of this year, beginning next year and then advancing further,” he added.
The amended PSA redefines what are considered public utilities, which are subject to a 40 percent foreign ownership cap.
Other sectors not listed under public utilities, such as telcos, airlines, railway, among others, will be liberalized, Santa Banana!
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There had been studies on the 1987 Constitution that 37 years after it was framed it had become antiquated and even jurassic because of the advancement of communication technology.
Like me I have become jurassic (I am still pounding on this manual typewriter simply because I never learned to use the computer, although I tried hard, but I could not.)
The fact is the charter was framed before the cell phone was invented and before the internet was known.
(Editor’s Note: The invention of Domain Name System, the common use of Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, a set of standardized rules that allow computers to communicate on a network such as the internet. Between 1986 and 1987, the network grew from 2,000 hosts to 30,000. People were now using the internet to send messages to each other, read news and swap files.)
I brought this up because of the fear of many that if Congress were to succeed in the plan to have charter change and with the proposed Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) there is no assurance that only the economic provisions of the charter would be taken up.
Yes, I agree, Santa Banana, in the proposed Con-Con, nobody can force the duly elected delegates to stick only to amending the economic provision of the charter, my gulay!
Even Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez admits that in Con-Con the delegates would even take up, Santa Banana, the revision of the charter’s political provisions.
I believe if the 1987 charter must be amended, the political provisions may as well be amended because, as I said earlier, the 1987 charter is not only antiquated, but even jurassic.
Take for instance, the enactment of party-list representatives who are supposed to represent the marginalized sectors of society is incompatible to the kind of government system we have which is Republican.
The multi-party system presumes a Parliamentary system.
In fact, according to the record of the 1987 charter, when the party-list system, patterned after the German party-list system, was discussed, the Parliamentarians in the Con-Con—who were fighting for the retention of the Parliamentary System which the country was then under the incumbency of Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.—lost only by one vote to advocates of the Republican System.
I heard that then President Cory was behind the Republican System because she wanted the participation of the friends of her late husband, Ninoy Aquino, the Left, disguised as a party-list.
That gave birth to the Makabayan Bloc, who are actually the communist Left, who like to call themselves progressives.
Thus, we have an anomaly of a party-list system under a Republican form of government.
This anomaly must be corrected. If there’s a Cha-Cha, the economic provisions must also give way to the political provisions.
I can cite more, but I’m just sticking to this anomaly, Santa Banana!
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I believe with Senator Robin Padilla as Senate Committee chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and revision of Codes he will succeed in convincing more senators for charter change.
Right now, the Senate is evenly divided between those for and those against charter change.
As Padilla said, despite the fact that President Marcos Jr. said charter change is not a priority, whether or not it’s not his priority, the wheels of charter change have started rolling.
And for this, I believe Padilla will succeed in convincing more of his fellow senators to side with him.
As Padilla said, he would rather resign than not pursue charter change.
Charter change and a Parliamentary system were his advocacy in the 2022 polls, when he ranked No. 1 among the Senators.
As I said, right now there’s a clear division among the senators who are for or against charter change.
If Padilla will be able to convince two or more to join him, he will succeed.
It’s for this reason why I believe in Padilla, a dedicated and committed senator who sticks to his convictions. Go for it, Robin !
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I have been invited to the dinner-tribute for Roberto “Bobby” Velayo Ongpin tonight and I will go to the City Club to attend it with my wife, daughter and son, being also admirers of Bobby Ongpin, who passed away in his sleep at the early hours of February 5.
Ongpin’s projects will surely continue with his nephew Eric O. Recto as the new chairman/CEO of Alphaland Corp.
Bobby, the tycoon, billionaire, technocrat and visionary that he was, had a few unfinished projects.
But with Eric O. Recto, Alphaland chairman/CEO and Rodolfo Ma. Ponferrada as president/COO, debt-free Alphaland will continue.
Bobby Ongpin must be smiling now from where he is.